Casino Culinary Union Takes Credit for Nevada Biden Votes, GOP Challenges ‘Illegal’ Ballots

Posted on: November 6, 2020, 09:50h. 

Last updated on: November 6, 2020, 10:18h.

The Las Vegas-based Culinary Union — which represents multiple gaming property workers — along with its national affiliate, Unite Here, is claiming credit for getting votes for former Vice President Joe Biden.  On Friday, Biden was poised to declare victory in the contested US presidential race.

Union wants to make it easier to organize workers
Geoconda Arguello-Kline, who, as secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226, represents numerous casino employees, helped to lead efforts to turn out the vote in Nevada for former Vice President Joe Biden. (Image: AP)

“We think we are the difference maker — without any question,” said D. Taylor, international president of Unite Here,  during a Thursday press conference, as ballots continued to be counted in several battleground states, including Nevada.

The union estimates that almost 300,000 of the people Unite Here canvassers spoke to in Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere actually voted. Some 120,000 of these voters did not vote in 2016, Taylor said, but this time voted for Biden, who the union endorsed over President Donald Trump.

Unite Here claimed it undertook the largest union door-to-door canvass in the US. Its members knocked on over 3 million doors.

In Nevada alone, Culinary Union members had over 100,000 conversations with residents during canvassing in such cities as Las Vegas and Reno. “I think we are the critical difference in Nevada, Arizona, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,” Taylor said.

He also claimed Trump’s “wild accusations” and lawsuits are signs of a “loser. We’re winning and they’re losing.”

Union Wants It Easier to Organize

Among the Unite Here priorities Taylor highlighted if Biden becomes president are strengthening laws that govern union organizing, a higher national minimal wage, everyone getting healthcare, immigration reform, and no evictions during the pandemic.

Geoconda Arguello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the 60,000-member Culinary Workers Union, Local 226, added that “Here in Las Vegas, we’ve been suffering incredible, tremendous impact with the COVID-19.” She noted that 55 union members or their close relatives died from the pandemic.

Also, more than half of the Culinary Union members currently are out of work because of coronavirus, she added. “We cannot take four more years of Donald Trump,” Arguello-Kline said.

When asked by what impact the 2020 election will have on Las Vegas’ gaming sector and its workers, Arguello-Kline avoided specifics. “The election is the most important thing right now,” Arguello-Kline responded.

The Culinary Union has been in a continuing battle with Station Casinos and other gaming companies over recognition of the union.

Nevada GOP Challenges ‘Illegal’ Ballots

In response to the election, Republicans in Nevada are challenging in court what they claim are improper votes cast in Clark County or elsewhere in the state. They said 3,062 individuals cast a ballot in Nevada while living in another state. Dead people were also allegedly counted among those who cast votes.

“The Nevada Republican Party has received thousands of complaints regarding issues that arose with the … [election] in Nevada. As the results of the election are still being tallied, we are investigating each and every voter complaint and are working diligently to ensure each voter had the opportunity to cast a ballot legally,” according to a statement released Thursday by Nevada Republicans.

For example, a number of mail ballots turned in to Clark County Department of Elections are “being processed without meaningful observation. Ballots are continuing to be processed in this same manner,” the statement adds.

Hundreds of thousands of ballots have been counted in Clark County and … we have not been allowed to observe or challenge a single signature match for these votes. … We are now more than ever concerned with the lack of the transparency in observing and challenging possible invalid ballots,” claimed Adam Laxalt, a former Nevada attorney general who co-led the state’s Trump reelection campaign.

As of Friday morning, Biden led by 20,542 votes, with 626,211 votes compared to Trump’s 605,669 votes. That works out to 49.76 percent vs. 48.13 percent. More votes still need to be counted.

Nevada’s six Electoral College votes are seen as key to the national result if the race remains tight.

Among the mega-donors supporting Trump’s campaign are Las Vegas Sands Corporation mogul Sheldon Adelson, as well as Station Casinos’ brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta.